CHARLOTTE, N. . C.. . – Former XFL star P. . J. . Walker will start quarterback for the Carolina Panthers against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, a league source said Adam Schefter of ESPN said.
Walker will replace Teddy Bridgewater, who was put on the inactive list after two rigorous pre-game sessions to test his right knee that was sprained in a loss to Tampa Bay a week ago.
This is Walker’s first NFL start. He has played twice when Bridgewater left with injuries and made 3 of 8 attempts to pass for 15 yards.
He is supported by Will Grier, a 2019 third round player who was 2-0 as a starter when Cam Newton was injured last year.
Walker was signed in the off-season after leading the Houston Roughnecks to a 5-0 record with 15 touchdown passes before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season. He was part of Carolina coach Matt Rhule’s rebuilding program at Temple from 2013-17.
The decision to bench Bridgewater had as much to do with protecting his left knee, which was badly damaged as a starter in Minnesota in 2016, as it did his right knee. There was concern that if he could protect himself, he would be putting too much strain on his left knee.
The fact that the Panthers lost two starters on the offensive line – on the left against Russell Okung and on the right against John Miller – was also a factor for Bridgewater. Rhule had known for the past few days that Bridgewater had to protect itself under duress.
Rhule, owner David Tepper, general manager Marty Hurney, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady were among those who watched Bridgewater come out twice for practice before the game.
Jason Pierre-Paul, Privateer from Tampa Bay, Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers, NFL, San Francisco 49ers
EbeneMagazine – CA – Source: Ex-XFL QB Walker starts for Panthers